This year’s Coachella Valley Music and Arts festival in Indio, Calif. was a joyride that reflected the music industry’s ever-expanding embrace of sounds from across the world. There were thrilling debut performances, an endless number of surprise guests, way too many tacos and unforgettable headlining sets.
After weekend one (which ran from April 12-14) officially wrapped, we’re still feeling the musical high from the festival — and also trying to recover from the grueling hot and dusty desert grounds. Below, we’ve gathered the 10 best moments we enjoyed throughout the wild whirldwind that was Coachella.
*NSYNC rides a wave of nostalgia
The anticipation for *NSYNC joining Ariana Grande’s headlining set on Sunday night (April 14) began as soon the boy band members and pop star tweeted a few obvious teasers a few hours prior. Once Grande graced the main stage and sang the first verse of Thank U, Next highlight “Break Up With Your Girlfriend, I’m Bored” (which samples “It Makes Me Ill,” from No Strings Attached), the cell phones came out. As predicted, all the members of *NSYNC (minus Justin Timberlake) reunited to belt out this deep cut. But that wasn’t all! The boy band kept the nostalgia train running by busting out an energetic rendition of “Tearing’ Up My Heart.” Watching Grande dance along to the iconic choreography took it to the next level. — BIANCA GRACIE
Weezer brings the Teal Album to life
Weezer’s surprise Teal Album of covers ruled the rock charts earlier this year, and at Coachella on Saturday (April 13), the band surprised the main stage crowd by bringing out the acts responsible for two of the hits on the album. English rockers Tears For Fears (Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith) joined the L.A.-based band for “Everybody Wants to Rule the World,” and the crowd absolutely lost it when TLC’s Chilli showed up for “No Scrubs.” “It was an honor and privilege to rock out,” Weezer later wrote on Instagram of their guests. — GAB GINSBERG
Billie Eilish’s Coachella debut is worth the wait
Though Billie Eilish‘s evening set on day two (which had no conflicting performances) started 30-minutes late due to technical difficulties, forcing her to cut a few songs from the setlist, the singer made the most of the time she had. At age 17 and fresh off the release of her No. 1 album, Eilish delivered one of the moodiest, most compelling shows of the weekend, affirming her rightful place in the industry as a superstar. From her thoughtful and oftentimes American Horror Story-esque visuals to the floating bed from which she sang on to a guest appearance from Vince Staples, even a full set wouldn’t have felt long enough. Hers was the kind of show that, years (if not sooner) from now, when she’s headlining for the first time, she and her fans will look back on as the moment that it all became possible. With each high-jump and synth drop, she kicked every single door wide open. — LYNDSEY HAVENS
Kid Cudi’s late-night special
Kid Cudi‘s near-midnight set after headliners Tame Impala on Saturday was a reminder of just how many hits the Man on the Moon rapper-producer has — not that we’d ever forgot it. With a parade of fan favorites like “Up Up & Away,” “Erase Me” and “Day N’ Nite,” plus Kanye West collabs “Father Stretch My Hands, Pt. 1” and “Reborn,” Cudi turned the electronic-focused Sahara stage into a psychedelic sing-a-long. Of course, he had to close out with his smash “Pursuit of Happiness,” now a decade old and still just as infectious — but not before dedicating the MGMT-featuring track to the late rappers Mac Miller and Nipsey Hussle, making his career-spanning set all the more poignant. — TATIANA CIRISANO
Janelle Monaé’s Black Girl Magic
Towards the end of her electric set, Janelle Monaé decided to give the audience a thirst-quenching treat. Her big surprise? Calling upon friends Lizzo and Tierra Whack to join her on stage for a cute dance break during “I Got The Juice.” Lizzo showed off her twerk skills while Whack did a smooth milly rock as Monaé cheered her on. The moment was a celebration of the black girl magic emanating from all three performers. — B.G.
BLACKPINK’s Jennie goes “Solo”
Just about every moment of K-pop group BLACKPINK’s Coachella performance was memorable, but Jennie’s debut within a debut was particularly mindblowing for Blinks and casual passerby alike. It’s “an honor to be a part of Coachella,” Jennie told the crowd earlier. Delivering stunning choreography alongside her backup dancers, Jennie strutted around the impressive domed Sahara Stage, unable to stop grinning as she became the first-ever K-pop solo artist to perform at the fest. — G.G.
Childish Gambino lights one up
On Friday night (April 12), Childish Gambino packed his headlining set with nonstop hits that either gave you chills (shout out to his choir) or made you want to dance. But in the middle of his performance, the singer/rapper decided to slow things down for a brief smoke break. “I get nervous in front of large crowds, so usually I smoke before the show,” he told the audience. “But now I’ll smoke during the show.” He proceeded to light up a blunt onstage before heading into the crowd to offer it to a member of the crowd. Being the responsible person he is, Gambino made sure to ask the lucky fan for his ID. — B.G.
DJ Snake shows off his musical entourage
DJ Snake gifted fans the first major surprises of the weekend, and still one of the best. During his nighttime set, the French DJ welcomed out a trio of all-stars: Cardi B, Ozuna and Selena Gomez. Together they delivered a high-energy performance of their collab “Taki Taki,” which dropped last October and has yet to lose steam. The appearance from Selena, who debuted long locks, marked her first live performance in over two years. When all was said and done, she and Cardi embraced in a hug; then, just like that, the show went on. — L.H.
Bad Bunny and J Balvin’s onstage bromance
When J Balvin performed Latin smash “I Like It” at the festival’s main stage on Saturday, masked impersonators stood in for his absent collaborators Cardi B and Bad Bunny. But two-thirds of the crew got a second chance to perform their fiery track at Bad Bunny’s own set the next day, where he brought out Balvin. The two traded fist-bumps and hugs as they bounced across the stage to the boogaloo-flavored, record-obliterating hit from last summer, likely leaving Cardi with a serious case of FOMO. — T.C.
Rosalía proves she’s a musical force
Rosalía’s performance at the Mojave tent on Friday marked her Coachella debut, but the Spanish singer moved on stage with the confidence of someone who has been in the game for a decade. Ever single moment was captivating, as she sauntered across the stage with her traditional Flamenco-inspired choreography while seducing the crowd with her beautiful vocals. Rosalía’s set effortlessly fused flamenco, trap, pop and R&B as she performed tunes like “Malamente,” “Brillo,” “Bagdad” and “Con Altura.” If this is what she can do at only 25 years old, we’re in for a treat as her career continues to blow up. — B.G.